The Hand and Foot Spa at Selfridges, Birmingham

An innovative new nail bar has arrived in Selfridges, Birmingham, and I was invited along to try out its service. The Hand and Foot Spa, founded by Donna Haar-Jørgensen, has been well established in London for the past nine years, and is now delighting customers in Birmingham with its unique computer system which allows you to see a nail colour on your nails without actually having to apply it. This, combined with a new level of nail hygiene, is making The Hand and Foot Spa the place to go for beautiful nails.

I was looked after by Michelle, who explained a little about the philosophy behind The Hand and Nail Spa. The idea is that you should receive the same treatment each time you enter the salon, therefore all technicians work to a systematic guide. In addition, hygiene is very important to the spa, so each customer has their own nail kit, complete with files, clippers etc, all hygenically sealed in a bag. This is used once and then discarded – the customer is free to take it home with them if they wish. (Michelle said that is exactly what most customers do, I certainly did.)

I started the talk with a little chat about my nails. They were currently lots of different lengths and quite brittle, working on a computer makes them prone to splitting and breaking, and let’s not even discuss what being a goalkeeper when I play with Joe does to them. Michelle suggested Shellac to make the nail colour last longer and then we discussed colour, which is where the new technology comes in. The computer system takes a photograph of your hand, and then you can click on a colour you would like to see, add it to your photograph of your nails and see if you like it. I think this is great if you are thinking of trying a new colour, or looking for a specific colour to match an outfit. I’m very stuck in my ways when it comes to colour – I basically wear all shades as long as they are red, but I was able to try different shades of red and thought the whole concept was brilliant.

Once I’d chosen a colour, I was treated to a full manicure, although I did have to avoid the wax treatment as I had rings that I just can’t remove. What I love about the treatment is the way the colour is built up, and fixed with a UV lamp. It feels like a pampering treat, and my nails looked and felt so much better after the treatment. I was also really impressed with the Shellac. Almost two weeks after the manicure, my nails are still literally perfect, except for the regrowth.


The Hand and Nail Spa

Selfridges Birmingham, Beauty Floor.

Prices for treatments start at £15 and can be booked via The Beauty Workshop on 0121 600 6718.

7 Ways Your Nails are Trying to Tell you Something

Our nails are incredible things. Not only are they geniously designed to help us pick things up, they also help to protect our fingers and toes from harm. These days, many people – women in particular – love to use their nails to show off their own unique style. Whether it’s through the colours and patterns they paint on their nails, or through the length and style they are shaped into.

What you might not be aware of is just how useful your nails are, when it comes to understanding your health and your body. Changes in the appearance and texture of your nails could mean that your body is lacking certain vitamins and minerals, or even show that you have developed an illness or infection.

The infographic below comes from Vitabiotics, the UK’s number one vitamin company. The helpful guide shows some of the common signals that your nails give you, to highlight any health issues or areas that need addressing. They also offer support on how to resolve the issues, ensuring that you and your body, especially your nails, are looking and feeling their best.


Vitabiotics Nails Infographic

Why You Should Pay Closer Attention to Your Fingernails

There are a handful of surface signs that something is going wrong with your body; if your hair starts falling out, your skin gets red and flaky, or your eyes become discolored, you know you should see your doctor right away. Yet, there is one other home-grown tool to help you determine whether your health is out of whack: your nails.

In many ways, your fingernails are excellent diagnostic instruments. Because they grow so quickly, they can tell you (and your doctor) almost exactly what is going on inside you, and you can receive the treatment you need to feel better faster. Here are a handful of nail-related signs and symptoms that could mean something is seriously wrong with your health.

Brittle Nails

Like your hair and skin, your nails can lose their strength and become dry and brittle. Not only do dry, brittle nails look unappealing, but they are also at a higher risk for cracking, which is extremely painful and can take some time to heal.

Sometimes brittle nails are the result of vitamin deficiency ― particularly vitamins A, C, or biotin ― but more commonly, your nails are peeling and cracking thanks to your lifestyle. If you spend much of your time with your hands in water, using harsh chemicals (including nail polish remover), or dwelling in regions with high humidity, you could develop brittle nails. At the very worst, your brittle nails are symptoms of a serious thyroid disease, and you should visit the doctor immediately.


Clubbed Nails

Clubbing is a condition that pertains to fingers and toes, but most people first notice clubbing by changes to their nails. If you are experiencing clubbing, the tips of your digits might start to enlarge and turn red and warm, which will cause your nail to curve downward and your cuticles to stick out at an odd angle.

Clubbing is always evidence of low oxygen in your blood, which is incredibly dangerous. Usually, when a doctor sees clubbing, he or she diagnoses serious heart or lung diseases, which require substantial lifestyle changes to overcome.

Curved Nails

Also called “spoon nails,” nails the curve upward at the edges are inconvenient as well as unattractive. When your nails are snagging at fabric, scratching wood and paint, and even wounding yourself, you need a fix fast.

Fortunately, curved nails are most often associated with anemia, which is a simple iron deficiency. Consuming more iron, either in your diet or through supplements, should resolve your problem. However, if the curving persists, you should see your doctor about potential heart or thyroid issues.

Spotted Nails

White spots anywhere else on your body might be a cause of concern, but when you see white spots on your nails, you don’t need to worry at all. The spots are called “leukonychia,” and despite popular believe that they signal a calcium deficiency, they actually are the result of some long-past minor trauma to your nail bed. As your nail grows out, the spots should disappear on their own.

Ridged Nails

Nail ridges form according to a person’s DNA, which means for the most part, your ridges are a natural and unique part of you. Vertical ridges in particular are a common development of aging and pose absolutely no cause for concern.

However, white horizontal ridges, known as Mees’ Lines, have several acute and chronic causes which you might want checked by a doctor. Most often, horizontal ridges are due to the same type of trauma that causes harmless white spots, but illnesses that cause high fever, like pneumonia or scarlet fever, can also bring about ridges in the nails. However, Mees’ Lines are also caused by long-term arsenic poisoning, carbon monoxide poisoning, and other potentially unknown health problems that require immediate medical attention.

Conversely, your horizontal ridges might take the form of Beau’s Lines, which look more like deep grooves in the nail. In this case, you could be suffering from an underlying, untreated disease, like diabetes, psoriasis, or a circulation problem that requires medicine to remedy.

Yellow Nails

Usually, nails turn yellow thanks to stains in your environment. If you constantly paint your nails or use acrylics, your nails will eventually turn yellow. Alternatively, smoking is a common cause of yellow nails because the tar in tobacco and smoke adheres to the fingers holding the cigarettes. In both cases, taking a break from the activity will give your nails a chance to clean up. If smoking is your vice, you can make a switch to smokeless e-cigarettes while your nails regrow. In addition, taking B12 supplements helps to hasten nail growth so your stains don’t last long.


White Nails

It’s natural that your nails have a strip of white at the ends, but when your entire nails turn white with a strip of pink at the top, you must see your doctor immediately. Called Terry’s Nails, this inversion of healthy nail color is a sign of your organs shutting down. In particular, white nails signal heart, liver, kidney, and pancreas failure, and you need all of those to survive.